Mormon epistemology, part 11
I'm not going to post all of the emails George and I exchanged. I just posted those last few because I'm lazy and didn't want to rewrite all that stuff. Now I'm going to post one paragraph of another email I wrote George.
I was just thinking earlier today about the whole notion of feelings/impression/etc. giving people knowledge, answering questions, etc. The notion seems odd to me, but I was having a hard time putting my finger on why. And then it occurred to me. It's because a feeling is a feeling; a feeling is not a proposition. Feelings don't have propositional content. They're just feelings. So a feeling cannot correspond to reality in the same way that a statement or a claim can correspond to reality. "Warm fuzzy" is not true or false; rather, you either feel it or you don't. The only way a feeling can confirm a truth is if you already somehow know that certain feelings are to be associated with certain answers. That's how language works. Words like "car" and "chalk," refer to things in the real world, so we associate these words with the objects they represent. In the same way, we'd have to have some way of associated feelings with propositions. A burning in the bosom might mean "yes," or a shiver in the liver might mean "no." (I can't remember where I got that phrase "shiver in the liver," but I heard it somewhere and thought it was funny.) But how do we come to associate feelings with propositions? How do we know that a burning in the bosom (or what have you) doesn't mean "no" instead of "yes"? I'm just very skeptical of the view that God communicates with people through feelings and impressions. I tend to think that people find the confirmation they are looking for. People believe what they want to believe. They feel good about the things they like, and therefore think they are true.
There ye have it!